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The New Data Center Capital of America

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the new-look dept.

Yahoo! 162

crimeandpunishment writes "Move over Silicon Valley, here comes... Buffalo. Where the weather might actually be a big advantage. The recent opening of Yahoo's state-of-the-art data center, which uses the region's cooler climate and a high-tech 'chicken coop' design to dramatically lower energy costs is getting a lot of attention in the industry."

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162 comments

Silicon valley.... (5, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777914)

was never really known for being a "data center", it's more known for where engineering and development happen.

Data centers don't really need that many highly skilled employees working on site. In the future data centers might have no one employed but security guards and (relatively unskilled) maintainance. In that case it doesn't really matter where they are located, at least in terms of helping the economics of the region.

Re:Silicon valley.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778050)

I find this hard to believe. I'm pretty sure Silicon Valley companies have all their servers on site. For example if my desktop tower was in Buffalo with very long wires, I wouldn't see anything on my screen due to transmission losses unless I use expensive repeaters. It's just not practical.

Re:Silicon valley.... (4, Funny)

coryking (104614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778206)

I agree with your concerns. Many Silicon Valley startups have taken to using expensive Monster Brand DVI cables to link the computers in Buffalo with the monitors in the Valley.

That said, many techies claim you can just use ordinary lamp cord for the DVI signal, true techies know that Monster Cable uses sophisticated techniques to cut out jitter and chromatic abnormalities often introduced in transit over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I personally would not hire an admin who did not use monster cabling.

Some have taken to frame-grabbing. They capture the screen in Buffalo several times second, compress the image using sophisticated algorithms such as GIF89 or TIFF, and the send them using ordinary phone lines as pulses of one or zero. It is very expensive, and only the most well funded start-ups use this technique.

Re:Silicon valley.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778366)

>>>using ordinary phone lines

Why not? It only takes 5 seconds to send one of those frame-grabbed GIFs over 50k modem. Oh and very reliable - it's hard to kill POTs even if a jackrabbit in Arizona chews through the line - it can be rerouted, If you use image compression (i.e. strip-out the color)(make it a 1-bit GIF) you caa get it down to 0.5 seconds. As fast as 500k DSL but without the expense or long-distance charges.

;-)

Re:Silicon valley.... (2, Funny)

coryking (104614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778430)

It is prone to jitter. Plus only an analog connection can accurately reproduce the full color gamut that today's high end systems can generate. The same way audiophiles can hear the jaggyness of digital audio, many skilled developers can see the ones and zeros of such a digital link. With analog monster brand DVI cables, it is a pure waveform.

Your suggestion to use DSL is silly. DSL is prohibitively expensive. So expensive that only two kings in Prussia have such technology. Besides--what use is connecting two computers with a high speed link?

Re:Silicon valley.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778244)

Dear god, you're an idiot. There is no fixing your stupidity.

Re:Silicon valley.... (2, Insightful)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778104)

and a region subject to earth quakes is not a good place to put a Data centre

Re:Silicon valley.... (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778232)

There are actually quite a lot there anyway, though. One of the two main Amazon EC2 datacenters in the U.S. is in the Bay Area, for example (the other one is in Northern Virginia). There's a ton of other data centers in San Jose and Fremont as well.

Re:Silicon valley.... (2, Interesting)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778460)

Yes always struck me as odd that. When I worked at BT we had a duplicate dc the other side of London in case the thames flood barrier failed.

Ironically an IRA bomb almost took out this alternate DC - luckily an empty building took most of the blast.

Re:Silicon valley.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779484)

If it weren't for a war of English aggression and a stubborn insistence on empire, maybe this wouldn't have happened at all.

Re:Silicon valley.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778234)

Earthquakes aren't really as big a problem as people think here...

Re:Silicon valley.... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778702)

Yea, when shouting at a server can give you measurable deficiencies, I'm pretty sure making the ground fucking shake is no big deal.

Re:Silicon valley.... (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778280)

Compared to hurricanes, mudslides, snowstorms, and other natural disasters, earthquakes are pretty tame. They happen once every few years, and rarely knock out the power. The snowstorms in the Pacific Northwest caused much more extensive computer outages than the occasional earthquake in California.

Really, the only problem is that you're shaking active hard drives for about 30 seconds, which is never good. But most are good enough to park their heads, and it rarely causes a real head crash.

Re:Silicon valley.... (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779288)

Niagara County (Lockport is a bit into Niagara County, it's not "Buffalo" or even in the same county as Buffalo though it's in the same metro area) is not immune to earthquakes, though it doesn't tend to get the big ones like San Francisco.

We've had a couple little bumpers in the 15 years I've lived here.

-uso.

They should (1)

i-c-electrons (1467179) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777922)

They should think about into north dakota too. I mean let's face it it's cold as sh!@ there as well and that whole state could use some jobs.

They don't have NIAGARA FALLS though (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33777976)

So, per my subject-line above? Yes folks: We "upstate N.Y.'ers" can thank the GREAT Nikola Tesla for his creation of the Niagara Falls power turbine system (sends power as far as to NY City too, afaik/iirc)...

That cheap power? It was "part of the package" they used to attract YAHOO & others, along with tax incentives & plenty of cheap land: CHEAP electrical power via "hydro-power"!!!

APK

Re:They don't have NIAGARA FALLS though (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778416)

North Dakota has a not insignificant hydro dam on the Missouri River, and is in the midst of an energy boom. Buffalo, however, has suffered de-indistrialization at such a tragic amount that it is likely they have excess capacity easily available.

North Dakota does not need jobs. The unemployment rate there is the lowest in the nation in the low single digits while the national rate is . . . much much higher. Poster "i-c-electrons" saying North Dakota needs jobs is facile and ignorant. They don't need jobs, they need people.

Buffalo was considered "D E A D" (take a read) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779012)

"Buffalo, however, has suffered de-indistrialization at such a tragic amount that it is likely they have excess capacity easily available" - by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 03, @04:19PM (#33778416)

Well, "fellow A/C": I agree with you, & know this about what's in my subject-line above: I've heard it TONS OF TIMES over the decades now in fact, & mainly because my bro used to spend CONSIDERABLE time there (military duty iirc, reserves while he was in school, now he's an officer (Major)). I heard the same directly too, as I interviewed there with M&T Bank in Buffalo for a VB6-to-Delphi7 conversion of some of their software they used not TOO many years ago in fact (iirc, 2006 or thereabouts)...

Fact is, & a lot of folks I knew, back circa 1995-2008, used to say: "Buffalo is a DYING town" etc./et al.

So, based on THAT much per what's in my subject-line & what YOU stated about power excesses etc.?

Well - I am willing to bet you that the tax break offered 'beat out' that which was offered by other states in the Union with similar possible benefits.

APK

P.S.=> Now, what they are NOT telling you, at least I did not see it, & what I am betting is, is this: NOWADAYS, most companies do NOT "buy" plant/property/equipment - they LEASE!

I would be willing to bet you that YAHOO did the same, which means they are not "tied down" and can take off, anytime they like... anyone taking bets here on that?

(Top that off with cheaper power, cheap land, & the fact it is/was an "economically depressed area", which means folks will take LOWER PAYRATES too than most of the nation for the same types of jobs? You get, what you get (YAHOO in BUFFALO))...

My guess here is that is probably what "broke the camel's back" as far as competing with say, the likes of N. Dakota as you point out...

HOWEVER, AGAIN - Because of leasing, again though? Hey - who knows?? One day, they MAY move from Buffalo to N.Dakota! You never know! Leasing plant/property/equipment instead of OWNING IT? Seems to be "the general trend" and a "smart move" that allows MOBILITY for businesses, and again/once more - many businesses nowadays? They practice EXACTLY that! apk

Re:They don't have NIAGARA FALLS though (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779330)

You think Buffalo's bad? Up here in Niagara Falls, half of Main St. and a chunk of Pine Ave. (our other main business district) is boarded up and falling apart, and half the streets are bad enough that everyone avoids driving on them (I've heard they're planning to reroute buses off one street because they keep breaking down due to all the potholes in the road). Honeymoon capital of the world? Don't make me laugh.

-uso.

Re:They don't have NIAGARA FALLS though (2, Informative)

freesword (229791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778656)

So, per my subject-line above? Yes folks: We "upstate N.Y.'ers" can thank the GREAT Nikola Tesla for his creation of the Niagara Falls power turbine system (sends power as far as to NY City too, afaik/iirc)...

That cheap power? It was "part of the package" they used to attract YAHOO & others, along with tax incentives & plenty of cheap land: CHEAP electrical power via "hydro-power"!!!

APK

I grew up in Buffalo. I know first hand that electricity there is anything but cheap. Most of the electricity produced at Niagara Falls goes east to NYC and points in between. This is because those areas will pay a higher premium for that "cheap" electricity. If YAHOO is getting cheap electricity it's because they aren't paying the going market rate for the area.

Re:They don't have NIAGARA FALLS though (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778736)

Datacenters don't get power like consumers.

I work at a (relatively crap and smal) datacenter, and we have two "main" feeds from two separate substations. You know, the transformers the size of a car? Yea, we have two on our property for out exclusive use.

You can tell our customers are really into Intel. -rimshot-

I'll GLADLY comment here... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778846)

I'll agree on 1 point: It's not as cheap as it WAS, before (that is, before "National GREED" (National GRID)) got ahold of us... that's for consumers!

(I live in Syracuse N.Y. again, but for many years I was away in NYC, Atlanta, Mobile, Savannah, you-name-it (travelling for work to buy a home here, finally, & doing that contracting type migrant farmworker life for almost 15++ yrs. in the computer sciences fields!)

Heh, who knows? I just MAY end up working for YAHOO one of these days, as Buffalo is only like 2.5 hrs. away from here & I can rent out my home to draw income from THAT and work in Buffalo!

(Buffalo, imo @ least? Hey: Nice town!)

In fact, recently, I was there visiting while on the way to Canada with my bro, & nephew, & stopped at the "home of the buffalo style chicken wing" a few months back!

(Sorry, I can't recall name of the restaurant, but my brother, nephew, & I were there & met the owner (nice Italian guy, and good husband - he bought his wife an Audi R8 & it was there too, lol!)).

BTW: IIRC, while I lived in NYC? Con-Edison runs THEIR power...

APK

P.S.=> Anyhow/anyways - "back on track": I am paying 3x what I was when it was Niagara Mohawk running my power 3-4++ yrs. or so ago (been awhile since NIMO is gone, can't recall exact year when it was though anymore)... ]

Now - Once National "GREED" (GRID) got ahold of us in NY State, when Niagara Mohawk power company "souled out" apparently to National Grid (afaik, a UK based concern no less)? That's when our POWER BILLS tripled in NY State USA...

Funniest part of this?

Well, many times the USA itself uses what are called "economic 'hit men'" who go into other nations, such as below Mexico, and destroy nations the same basic way: One of the 1st moves they make? Assume control of the POWER GRIDS... apk

Re:I'll GLADLY comment here... apk (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779366)

You mean Anchor Bar, on Main St.? There's a Wendy's right next door?

-uso.

I believe that'd be "the one" (iirc)... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779452)

Yes, I think that was the name in fact (iirc): I'd never been there before, & I was sort of tired too, but I am fairly sure you "got it right" man!

Heh - while there, lol, my brother played a bit of a joke on me:

He got me an order of those TREMENDOUSLY hot wings (the ones with the tiny blackish peppers in them).

He said IF I could eat 24 of them in the time we were there/in 1 sitting? He'd pay me $50!

(On a bet, he didn't think I could do it, as he didn't think I liked hot food and I don't really... not like HE does @ least)

Well, I did, but I think my lips were actually burned from it. Yes, it actually was painful, but not SO bad if you just eat them all @ once, fast!

APK

P.S.=> On a "side-note", on the Audi the owner got for his wife? The place where the owner's wife's Audi R8 was parked (just like "IRON MAN/Tony Stark's" ride from the hit 2008 film IRON MAN) in front right near the door?

Heh, the spot LITERALLY says "Mrs. XXXX's parking spot"!

I thought that was cool, and to buy one of those massively NICE sports cars CO$T$ LARGE... To think that chicken wings did that, bought a car like that, eh? apk

Re:They don't have NIAGARA FALLS though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779182)

Electricity is more expensive in Buffalo be cause the New Your State Legislature decided that charge NYC less then the Buffalo area. Electrons aren't actually traveling to NYC.

Re:They don't have NIAGARA FALLS though (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779304)

And you can BLAME him for it too, because back in 2003 a fault in Niagara Falls knocked out a good chunk of the eastern seaboard. (Meanwhile, we were just without power for a couple hours...iirc, we don't actually get any of our power from the hydro plant which is just north of the city.)

-uso.

Buffalo, New York (2, Informative)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777928)

For those who are curious, the article is about data centers in Buffalo, New York, and not one of the other many Buffalos in the USA.

Re:Buffalo, New York (4, Informative)

catbutt (469582) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777972)

Buffalo NY has over 250,000 population. The next highest I can find is about 4000.

So I'm confused as to why you think anyone would be confused.

Re:Buffalo, New York (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778250)

So I'm confused as to why you think anyone would be confused.

Probably for the same reason Americans have a habit of saying things like "London, England" leaving everyone else to think "yes, surprising as it may seem, I do know where London is...", the explanation apparently being that people might get confused with some obscure village in Outer Mongolia. It's just part of American culture.

Re:Buffalo, New York (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778394)

To be fair, London is the 15th largest city in Canada, and is directly between Buffalo and Detroit.

(To specify, London, ON, Buffalo, NY, and Detroit, MI, respectively)

Re:Buffalo, New York (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778900)

To be fair, London is the 15th largest city in Canada, and is directly between Buffalo and Detroit.

With an estimated population of what, let's be generous, half a million? It would look a bit tiny next to its namesake, now wouldn't it? Not that there's anything wrong with that but that was the original point wasn't it, why mention which Buffalo when the others are smaller.

Re:Buffalo, New York (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778762)

I say "London, England" when I'm referring to that one, because I've never been there, but I have been to three other Londons.

Re:Buffalo, New York (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778282)

The rest of the Buffalos in the US have a combined population of about 1/10th of Buffalo NY's population, and the second largest is in Minnesota, with a population of 10,000 (ie 1/30th Buffalo NY).

It being by far the largest (and the only one with professional sports teams) is why they didn't feel the need to specify state.
Similarly, when somebody mentions Boston, it assumed to be the one in Massachusetts, and not the Bostons Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania or Texas.

Why stop at Buffalo? (2, Funny)

ve3id (601924) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777932)

Well, why stop at Buffalo? We have lots of cheap land in Northern Canada where you would need no cooling for most of the year!!!!

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (1)

Jaime2 (824950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777962)

Buffalo is near cheap power. The current data center proposals are all to the north of Buffalo, where Niagara Falls is.

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (2, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777988)

NIAGARA FALLS!

Slowly I turned. Step by step. Inch by inch...

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778380)

NIAGARA FALLS! Slowly I turned. Step by step. Inch by inch...

Obviously there are not a bunch of people here that went to camp here else they would recognise that skit. You got my mod point. shoehornjob

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778300)

Buffalo is also relatively near New York city and Boston, MA. If you need to go visit your datacenter by spending a weekend in New York City, things aren't so bad. And it's not too much of a stretch to draw graduates from MIT.

Good luck drawing people to Northern Canada. All you have up there is cows and land.

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (2, Insightful)

GreenTom (1352587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778550)

I dunno, that's a bit of a stretch. New York State is bigger than many people think, and Buffalo's really far west. For comparison, Buffalo is closer to Detriot than it is to NY City, and closer to Cincinnatti than to Boston. Buffalo's an 8 hour drive from NYC, so plan on losing two days if you try to visit Buffalo via the city.

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (2, Insightful)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778836)

Umm, no. NY State is about the size of England and half of Wales. You don't casually go to the opposite side of the state. (I live halfway between NYC and Buffalo; I don't go to either on the weekend.)

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (1)

ve3id (601924) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778966)

Buffalo is near cheap power. The current data center proposals are all to the north of Buffalo, where Niagara Falls is.

You think the power at James Bay is expensive then? Only problem is you have to speak French!

Re:Why stop at Buffalo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778020)

The real reason to put data centers in the WNY area is the cheap and carbon neutral power from Niagara Falls. Climate helps, but power is king. The Canadian side has the same potential.

Not as cool as it used to be (5, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777936)

It used be that having people build data centers in your community meant lots of good jobs. These days, though, with advances in lights out management, you can build a huge data center and only need a few low-pay button pushers and forklift drivers on site. All of the high paid engineer and admin positions can be staffed anywhere, and usually end up being primarily existing staff who remain wherever they're already living.

Sure having some jobs coming in is better than no jobs coming in, but data centers alone are not going to transform a community into a high tech mecca any more than building a bunch of warehouses will.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (2, Interesting)

Jaime2 (824950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778006)

It still might help. It should give us a better communication infrastructure and cause the big hardware vendors to locate more distribution centers and technicians in the area. The only reason the Apple was built in California was the locals had access to chips that weren't available to hobbiests elsewhere. Internet access and cheap servers are the foundations of the next generation of inventions.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779586)

It still might help. It should give us a better communication infrastructure and cause the big hardware vendors to locate more distribution centers and technicians in the area.

If you don't have good communications infrastructure, they aren't putting the data center there in the first place. If the data center needs parts, that's what UPS/FedEx are for - it would take a huge data center (something like an order of magnitude or two larger than anything ever built) to make it worth time for a major hardware vendor to even consider a part time tech, let alone a distribution center.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778056)

These days, though, with advances in lights out management, you can build a huge data center and only need a few low-pay button pushers

This explains why 10 years ago the admin helped you out, and today you help out the admin.

Remind me not to host any nontrivial systems where your philosophy manages the data centre. I want skilled people working quickly where the problem is going to happen, not slowly by trying to troubleshoot 1000 miles away.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778166)

These days, though, with advances in lights out management, you can build a huge data center and only need a few low-pay button pushers

That confirms my belief that America has turned into Soviet Russia.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (4, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778276)

If you are running a massive data center that hosts a webfarm, cloud cluster, or some other large horizontally scaled computing project and require highly technical staff troubleshooting individual machines onsite, your process and application is completely screwed up. A well designed, horizontally scaled app should not fail if multiple machines go down.

At the scale of Yahoo, Google or facebook, they probably dont even bother to troubleshoot a machine that is even hinting at questionable behavior. They just yank it off the load balancer and have some unskilled dude take the machine, dump it, and put in a new one.

If you have a massive failure of your system, short of a natural disaster it ain't a hardware issue or a server issue. It is an application bug that require software engineers to fix. They don't have to be at the datacenter, they just create a patch from the comfort of their normal office (or home) and push it out to production.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778652)

1. Not everything uses symmetric massively distributed processing and storage with commodity servers, nor is as easily suited to it as, say, a search engine. Google's application it may be the poster boy for clustering, but it's a simple and non-critical application run by a business with effectively infinite setup/maintenance funds;

2. There are various potential points of failure at the data centre aside from a single server, including failures in monitoring systems and console servers, all of which could cause a massive failure... how long are you prepared to wait until the genius arrives on site?

3. The competent data centre administrator can identify system problems on third-party servers by constantly observing host/network behaviour, leaving the application programmers to worry about their own VMs. For him to be the best trouble shooter, he must have a detailed understanding of the physical layout and topology and be able to modify where necessary.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778378)

You want highly skilled people working quickly on the operating system and router configurations. It's less common to swap out a RAID HDD, than to deal with hacked accounts.

Some of the best IT personnel I know have worked from the beach in Asia. They could do that, because A: beaches in Asia are cheap and beautiful, and B: they were able to zoom in on problems and fix them quickly from a command line. Why do you need physical access to a virtual machine? Especially when the best a GUI is going to do for you is format a command line input that you know by heart anyway.

And yes, very little of this was experimental stuff, and there were other IT people on-site to deal with the occasional hardware problem. But do you really want to put your experiments into a production environment before you understand them thoroughly? Experiments that would require physical access seem like either major hardware upgrades or serious breaches of OS security. Again, your team shouldn't need to be in your data center.

Not as diverse as it never was. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778456)

True, and the comment about rust belt ignores that one of the reasons was the rather over-dependence on one or a few types of industry. Data centers are the new steel mills or auto makers of this century.

Re:Not as cool as it used to be (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778974)

Don't underestimate the value of tax base that these facilities provide; we've got a few power-plants that are almost deserted employee wise, yet the tax base they provide is huge! The 'bots at the highly automated power-plants subsidizes the jobs of lots of fleshies in our county.

Buffalo? (3, Funny)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777944)

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo?

(Yes, I have karma to burn)

Re:Buffalo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778058)

Mushroom mushroom. Snaaaaake! Snaaaaake!

Re:Buffalo? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778306)

So you're saying that confused people from Buffalo who confused people from Buffalo confuse confuse confused people from Buffalo?

Seems straightforward to me.

Re:Buffalo? (2, Informative)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778360)

Actually it's confused buffaloes as the animal, not Buffalonians.

On that matter, I hate confusing people.

Re:Buffalo? (2, Informative)

skine (1524819) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778570)

A buffalo can be defined as either the animal, or a person who is buffaloed - hence a confused person.

Canada is where it should be (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778054)

Cheap hydro power, no summers ( well actually that is not true we had summer last year, it happened on a Thursday). You can also use the excess heat to warm up the parking garage of the employees because the cars will blow their frost plugs even if they are plugged into block heaters and the batteries will freeze if they don't have an electric blanket around them. -60c (-100c with wind chill) is horrible, most people run their cars 24/7 when it gets really cold.

Re:Canada is where it should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778114)

frost plugs, battery blankets, block heaters... If these are real, why do you live there?

Re:Canada is where it should be (3, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778156)

Sounds good! All you need is for somebody to dig through that permafrost to lay some fiber-optic cables...

After all, a data center needs some way to actually, I don't know, deliver data...

Re:Canada is where it should be (2, Funny)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778186)

Winnipeg would be perfect. Google should build a server farm so big it would produce so much heat that the snow in the city would melt, forcing them to open up the floodway in the winter.

yeaaaaah!

Re:Canada is where it should be (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779074)

Bullshit, that maybe true for the North Slope in Alaska, but not for Buffalo NY. They get lots of wind and lake effect snow measured in feet, but it's not anywhere near that cold there. cars don't feel wind-chill.

Re:Canada is where it should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779176)

we had summer last year, it happened on a Thursday

I'm glad someone is going for Funny on the weather, but in truth Buffalo is four-season territory.
http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USNY0181?from=search [weather.com]

I used to live on the north side of the lake. Summers are /hot/. (How hot? My friends from equatorial Indonesia complained about the heat.) A Buffalo facility will get a break on the cooling bill for half the year, but it'll still need an expensive full-power system installed, maintained, and going balls-out for the month of August when the Grid is sending around notices to ask people to lay off on the air conditioners.

More likely Buffalo offers cheap hydro (Niagra), and state & city governments bending over backwards to attract industry. Plus there's pretty reasonable suburban living infrastructure for tech staff.

Unless (and this is where Slashdot geekiness should kick in) they're going to do something interesting like use the lake for cooling. The lake is deep, and cool beneath the surface. The steel mill I worked at out there drew in this water to feed a series of cooling ponds. Rust-belt economics may mean cheap shoreline industrial land perfect for one of these parking-lot sized additions.

Buffalo is close enough. (1)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779308)

We had a long hot Summer this year in Toronto, It's only really cooled down in the past couple of weeks.

Not sure where the "no Summer" business comes from. Even Winter only lasts 4 months in TO.

Buffalo buffalo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778086)

Buffalo buffalo, Buffalo buffalo buffalo, buffalo data?

Buffalo has good ping times (4, Interesting)

inhuman.games (1590643) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778088)

Geographically speaking, I think Buffalo is better than Silicon Valley for a server -- if you have European customers. My server in Buffalo had good latency for users in both North America and Europe. My server in Silicon Valley had worse latency for my European users. I'm surprised there aren't more data centers in the New York area.

Re:Buffalo has good ping times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778230)

How about a server in Europe for your European customers?

Re:Buffalo has good ping times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778262)

Sorry to be pedantic, but New York area? Where, geographically speaking is that? You do know that Buffalo is close to New York City like Chicago is close to Cleveland, or San Francisco is to LA? By New York area did you want to include New Jersey, Pennsylvania and all of New England?

Re:Buffalo has good ping times (3, Informative)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779478)

Did you know that some MAJOR fiber runs through this area? One of the original ARPAnet backbones runs directly under Transit Rd. in Lockport en route to UB where they are doing a lot of human genome crunching. UB was one of the original 5 ARPAnet sites. In Buffalo itself, the financial services and medical sectors are boming, along with insurance. There's *plenty* of IT and internet here. Most of my packets go through there and then get zinged out to NYC via Rochester. They go from Rochester down to Washington, and make a round trip from there.

Will works have health care or will they just cand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778096)

Will works have health care or will they just say go to candia!?

yes...build it in an earthquake zone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778112)

because building a data center in the most active earthquake zone in north america is such a fucking brilliant idea.
http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article71251.ece
its so fucking active the largest earthquake research center in north america is located there :
http://mceer.buffalo.edu/About_MCEER/default.asp
yes. lets all take advantage of that cooling while our harddrives get shaken to pieces. brilliant.
hint for those yahoos who run yahoo : the canadian shield is north of buffalo. and its the most stable place on the planet with much colder weather.

Re:yes...build it in an earthquake zone. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778224)

you have to be kidding me. the earthquake you linked happened in canada:

"The midday earthquake measured a magnitude of 5.0, and while centered 35 miles outside the Canadian capital of Ottawa, it sent tremors through Western New York and at least eight U.S. states. Locally, the rumbling rattled residents from Springville to Lewiston."

buffalo is hardly an active earthquake zone

Re:yes...build it in an earthquake zone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779258)

actually it is.
http://mceer.buffalo.edu/infoservice/reference_services/westernNewYorkEQs.asp

Good on ya, Buffalo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778136)

... but the rest of America is still sore at those four consecutive Super Bowls you guys made us sit through with your losing teams. Marv Levy, Thurmon Thomas, Bruce Smith, Jim Kelly and the no-huddle offense, etc. I remember a fan holding up a sign: "Deal with it America!"

Re:Good on ya, Buffalo (2, Funny)

McGruber (1417641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778260)

... but the rest of America is still sore at those four consecutive Super Bowls you guys made us sit through with your losing teams.

Maybe they can convert Ralph Wilson stadium into a data center once the Bills relocate to Toronto?

Yeah, right. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778138)

First off, where did they get that picture of a bunch of mini-tower machines on steel shelving, each with one Ethernet cable, one power cord, and one console connection, sitting on raised floor? That looks like clip art of some data center circa 1998. Here's the actual Yahoo data center in Lockport, [inhabitat.com] which, as you'd expect, is a big farm of 1U rackmounts. The "chicken coop" design is simply a low-cost prefabricated metal building with lots of ventilation grills. Looks like something ordered out of the Butler Buildings catalog.

Yahoo got $9 million in grants and 10 years of no taxes for this. Yet it will employ only 125 people. Probably less, once it's running.

Lockport is desperate. The big employer in town, Delphi Harrison Thermal Systems (formerly Harrison Radiator) had 6000 employees a decade ago. Now it has 2100, and has been threatened with closure several times.

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Funny)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778324)

Is that actual open air? Wouldn't dirt and water in the air start causing problems?

Re:Yeah, right. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778678)

Is that actual open air? Wouldn't dirt and water in the air start causing problems?

It's probably not open air. My guess is that they have air-to-air heat exchangers [xetexinc.com] behind all those grills, so the heat is dumped into the cold ambient air. Mostly the same air goes round and round in the data center, which keeps the humidity in range. So there's not much work for the chillers; mostly it's just fans.

Wow, excellent pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778538)

Thanks for that much better link, with actual pictures of the place!

Re:Yeah, right. (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779106)

125 people in a town of 20,000 is huge. Each of those people needs housing, pays income tax (which NYS is probably the highest in the US), pays sales tax (8%) need office supplies, phone lines, cell phones, gets married, has children, goes out to eat etc. etc. That's roughly $4-6m/year of extra cash flowing into the local economy.

Besides, Yahoo probably wouldn't pay taxes anyway because they're incorporated somewhere else and claim towards the local tax man that they made 0 profit and have a huge loss into having the data center. Besides they also have to pay for people to maintain the air conditioning and building, snow shoveling their parking lots, fixing the heating system in the offices all of which local contractors do.

better link (2, Informative)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778220)

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/092010-yahoo-opens-chicken-coop-green.html [networkworld.com] although the original link does a great job of showcasing local boosterism in a rust belt town feverishly hopeful for a better future ('Yay! 100 jobs! Some interest! The town is saved, paw'!), this link actually has details more likely to be of interest to a slashdot reader. The long and narrow design placed in consideration of prevailing winds seems clever, sure, but I don't get the big deal over it. Maybe using common sense really is so rare as to be considered innovative.

100 jobs (1)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779466)

100 jobs may not seem that much, but for small town it is significant. It means, 100 people plus probably another 50 to 90 spouses + another 20 to 100 kids (all numbers pulled out of my ass) will either continue to stay there, or better, move in. That's at least another 200 people extra. This means that schools, shops, petrol stations, the post office etc. can still remain open and the town won't turn into a one garage ghost town. Most of them will also want their own houses, so that's another benefit to the local economy.

Re:100 jobs (1)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779618)

I totally agree, I was just trying to point out that TFA seems too exuberant about future prospects, and while happy for them, that isn't the aspect of the story myself and the majority of /. readers care about.

Really, Really Need A Job? (4, Funny)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778402)

Skilled help may be needed by these new data centers. So all they have to do is talk high quality employees into the joys of living in Buffalo. If the cold doesn't kill you and boredom doesn't finish you off the state income taxes may have you wander about hoping that you will freeze to death.

Re: Really, Really Need A Job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779236)

I know a few people from Silicon Valley who would jump at such an opportunity.

What about... (1)

CrazySpence (609418) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778976)

The yearly power cutting snow storms? Tornado's? Flooding of nearby areas? Buffalo is hardly safe from natural disaster. Someone probably just thought "lets go north, nothing ever happens up there" and their yes men agreed and here we are.

Re:What about... (2, Informative)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779422)

Lockport's in Niagara County. We in Niagara County don't get the storms that bury Buffalo and especially the Southern Tier under 7 feet of snow every year like clockwork. Once Buffalo got stomped and Sanborn (where I went to college, just a couple miles west of Lockport) was still green.

-uso.

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